I recently ran across a photo essay on the Time Lightbox about the restoration of Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition. The images and article for this essay were interesting, but the real discovery for me was the work of Elliott Erwitt.

Elliott Erwitt is an advertising and documentary photographer who worked on assignments for photographer Roy Stryker in the early 1950’s and joined the Magnum Agency in 1953. Erwitt’s photographic work was included in the Family of Man exhibition.

Erwitt is a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment. The idea being to compose images that emphasize the crucial moment of emotion or tragedy or elation or whatever other defining moment presents itself. Erwitt’s best work often transcends lesser compositional approaches like rule of thirds in favor of a more complex composition focused on conveying the essence of the moment. Many of Elliott Erwitt’s greatest images convey concepts like humor, compassion, or absurdity. His best images are more than just photos, they are conceptual works that convey a message.

Elliott Erwitt’s work includes some nudity. The nudity is of the variety that may provoke a laugh, but be advised that it is there. The articles I’ve linked to in this sketch are very good, and I hope you have the time to review them.